Friday, December 14th, 2012

AMNESTY 2012: Royal Headache – Girls

Lena Dunham looks so much different these days, don’t you think…


[Video][Myspace]
[5.69]

Edward Okulicz: Music like this reminds me that I am really a horrible, judgmental, prejudiced person.
[0]

Jonathan Bogart: Congratulations boys, you’ve fulfilled the bare minimum requirements of being a rock band after about 1976. You want a cookie or something?
[2]

Frank Kogan: Having unaccountably misplaced my copy of Village Voice Writers Respond To Letters To The Editor (Grove Press, 1985), I’ve not got the exact wording of what Lester Bangs said to the puzzled reader who wanted to know why he’d given the first album by the Clash (a British band popular in the late ’70s and early ’80s) both a negative and a positive rating. But “goddamnedest bit of caterwauling I’ve heard in my life, and as such is more than a bit of fun” would be the gist of it. While Royal Headache are perhaps more fun than they intend, they’re hardly world class when it comes to the caterwaul. Extra point for the falsetto.
[6]

Jer Fairall: Melody-under-the-noise is one of those tricks that just never gets old, and this melody is an especially sweet one, but at this sub-Ramones length, it actually understays it’s welcome.
[6]

Anthony Easton: In and out in 98 seconds, with an efficiency that suggests a purity of intentions. For a song with the line “does she wait for me,” there is no waiting at all here, which is part of its efficient charms. 
[9]

Patrick St. Michel: Gets to the good stuff, doesn’t fool around and then wraps it up before anything becomes stale. This is knowing your strengths well.
[7]

Zach Lyon: Bless a rock band that knows when to shut up.
[6]

Ian Mathers: Good on them for realizing that 90 seconds is about the Platonic ideal for this kind of goofily caffeinated garage thrum; any more and this would probably be tedious. Any shorter and “Girls” probably falls apart entirely, and not in any kind of thrilling or charming way.
[5]

Alfred Soto: My upbringing taught me to appreciate terse punkers like this; now I just ask, where’s the rest? Or: I already love the new Cloud Nothings…?
[6]

Brad Shoup: Minus one cos I finally understood the lyrics after 200 plays. One Ariel Pink is already slightly more than we need. But I endorse strangulation as a compositional technique!
[9]

Will Adams: We begin with the narrator, smitten but insecure — “Girls think they’re too fine for me… and I’m inclined to agree” — eventually settling on one particular girl who has captured his attention. After sixty seconds he bursts out, “I want the key to your heart!” as the scuzzy rock track carries on. There’s so much packed into “Girls”‘s ninety seconds that I’m almost glad it doesn’t continue.
[7]

Jonathan Bradley: Brimming with impatience, fingers not even willing to settle on one chord before they’re on to the next, “Girls” is Royal Headache tripping over themselves in an attempt to convey all of their exuberance at once. Ratchet guitars pile up on punk rhythms which pile up on wails about the “key to your heart” and “does she wait for me” until only noise can properly convey the impetuousness; even the words collapse into a whooping soul wail. I’ve heard few songs this year that approach the joyful incoherence of the 99 seconds here between the first open chord rattle and the final cry of “oh, girls!” Of the ones I have, none have been as subtly masterful as this one; the confident elasticity of Shogun’s vocal and the trebly vigor of the guitars backing him aren’t the work of any old garage band.
[9]

Iain Mew: A lot of the indie rock that I’ve actually liked in 2012 has been Australian. Tame Impala, yes, but more so Last Dinosaurs and Deep Sea Arcade (who have their own “Girls”). All are revivalist enough that I can’t present my dislike for Royal Headache’s “Girls” as being a principled stand against lack of originality. It’s just that their particular sound of a man shouting over scuzzy noise from the other end of a tunnel is one that I don’t care to have back again. The song is at least mercifully brief.
[2]

One Response to “AMNESTY 2012: Royal Headache – Girls”

  1. Note to anyone looking to game the Jukebox controversy index: the secret is guitars.